The second annual “Party in Pink: Zumbathon!” welcomed 200 CSUN students, alumni, faculty and staff Thursday to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.The event held in the Matadome raised more than $2,100 and donated all proceeds from ticket sales to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research fund and its global non-profit partners, according to Justin Weiss, supervisor for Unified We Serve, a community volunteer program at CSUN.
The Zumbathon was a collaborative effort among the University Student Union, Student Recreation Center, Unified We Serve and Matador Athletics and was funded by the budgets of all four collaborators.
“Usually when there’s a philanthropy event, only a percentage of the donation goes towards the cost of the event itself, but this is one of the unique events where 100 percent of the ticket sales go as donations to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer research foundation,” said Weiss, 32.
Cynthia Mazouz, a senior business management and marketing major, heard about the Zumbathon through a friend and resonated with the cause.
“I loved this event,” said Mazouz, 21, whose grandmother is a breast cancer survivor. “It’s so great that we have a possibility to dance and raise awareness.”
Talar Alexanian, events assistant for Unified We Serve and junior journalism major, helped oversee the annual event.
“With October being breast cancer awareness month and breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women, we figured Zumba is a fun way to get people active and healthy as well as raise awareness to this issue,” said Alexanian, 19.
The event was held in honor of Mary Jane Smith-Waldman, a member of the CSUN Hall of Fame, former CSUN volleyball player and kinesiology instructor who died from breast cancer last year.
Ryann Mitchell, a junior political science major, got event information from her SRC Zumba class instructor Danny Ramos.
“I’ve taken Zumba with Danny since the SRC opened, and I’m here because I love Zumba!” said Mitchell, 20.
Ramos, a senior business major, took the Zumbathon stage as the Zumba dance instructor while the crowd followed his moves to music spun by DJ MaL-Ski. Ramos, 21, comes from a family of professional salsa dancers and said he loves the energy he gives to students through dance classes.
The event closed with Karen Rubenstein, staff partner for the CSUN chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), as she handed out commemorative medals to attendees who are breast cancer survivors.
CAC does monthly events on campus to promote cancer awareness and education, including the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event, according to Rubenstein.
Karen Little, a medal recipient and breast cancer survivor, said events like this are awesome and inspiring.
“To see students do something like this makes me proud to be employed at CSUN,” said Little, a shelving supervisor at the Oviatt Library. “Students supporting this cause keeps me going and keeps me fighting.”